Meet Dr. Nikhita Shere, Ayurvedic Doctor focused on Mental Health

Dr. Nikhita Shere is an Ayurvedic Doctor (MUHS) with an M. Sc. in Psychological Wellbeing and Mental Health. She believes in treating the individual as a whole, taking into consideration not just Physical signs, but also Mental & Emotional Health. UMA Editors speak with Dr. Shere for her perspective on Ayurveda, healing and more*.
1. In your opinion, what are the first 3-5 things an individual can do to get started on an Ayurvedic way of life?

The most basic steps to begin Ayurvedic Lifestyle is following a routine: Dinacharya that begins with self discipline, waking up early after completing a good night's sleep, being mindful of your hunger & thirst; eating accordingly and adapting diet & lifestyle as per seasons: Ritucharya.

 2. Can you share a few examples of when you have seen Ayurveda at its most transformative, or essentially its best?
Most definitely, Ayurveda has always been a preventive science first and then curative. So it always helps by bringing alignment in the individual, it recognises the differences between every individual's body constitution and helps with personalized recommendations. E.g. A patient with ADHD and Kafa Pitta Prakriti had serious digestive issues, frequent breakouts and redness on face; once they began a diet which was more aligned to balance their doshas and began with DIY skincare, Gandusha(Oil pulling), Nasya and Shankhapushpi churna it helped them manage their condition and regular body massage was also suggested in routine. 
3. Are there certain situations, persons, or diseases that you have found Ayurveda to be more valuable for?

Yes, although this holistic approach is beneficial for all age groups, I believe that individuals with lifestyle disorders as early as 20s, 30s benefit a lot more with Ayurveda, as their recovery rate is speedier. In diseases like Obesity, PCOS, Thyroid, Skin disorders, Hair fall, IBS, Insomnia, Low mood, Anxiety and Sinusitis I have seen great results in my practice.

4. Are there situations  or conditions you believe Ayurveda may not work, or that other modalities may provide greater impact?

Ayurveda works brilliantly in most health conditions. Having said that one Vaidya/Ayurvedic Physician may not have expertise or the infrastructure to treat all conditions. In my opinion, an integrative approach is also important when treating a chronic health condition such as Cardiovascular disease, Neurological disorders and terminal illnesses such as Cancer. 

5. What are some recommendations you have for someone to get the most of out of their initial Ayurveda journey?

Make sure to get guidance from a registered Ayurvedic Practitioner/Doctor, as they are certified to give you the right care and advice. Take it slow, as the process can get overwhelming if all changes were to be made at one go. Building habits is a process and allowing time for that transition is important. Be patient with yourself, it's the little things that help you in the long run.

6. When choosing an Ayurvedic doctor, what are some of the questions you recommend someone ask? Are there other things you recommend people research to ensure a good fit with their Ayurvedic doctor?

One Ayurvedic Doctor's approach may differ from another, so ensuring the right fit with your Doctor is definitely a must. Here are a few questions that could help identify:

  1. What is their treatment method, what pillars are they looking to focus on while sharing recommendations, e.g. Diet, Lifestyle, Wellness, Medicines. In my practice, I clearly mention that the plan helps you mainly with Diet, Lifestyle and Wellness rituals, herbs/Medicine strictly if and when needed.
  2. What is the support being provided? Are they approachable to resolve your roadblocks on the go? How frequent are the follow ups? In my plan I give daily support and like to be in touch with my patients, they also have weekly follow up calls of 15 mins and get revised plans monthly as per progress.
  3. What is the average duration of support required? According to their preliminary diagnosis the Doctor should be able to suggest a timeline and the idea should be to empower the patients towards the end of the period. I try to create awareness and education along way in my treatment, so that they end up learning about their body and become more mindful of the steps in their journey ahead.
7. What are the top 3-5 Ayurvedic herbs you believe we all need in our lives? Do they have any caveats or contra-indications in some situations?
I would like to throw light on the fact that when we are attuned with our bodies, following an Ayurvedic diet & lifestyle, than we are not necessarily required to have herbs. Herbs are to be had as and when necessary to supplement healing, recovery or balance but not to be taken constantly for life. The ones which must be consumed periodically are Amala, Dry ginger and Licorice.
8. What are the few Ayurvedic spices we must all have in our kitchens?

In Indian kitchens we are blessed to have spices like Cumin, Peppercorns, Turmeric, Fennel, Cloves, Cinnamon, Anise and Bay leaves which have significant Ayurvedic health benefits.

9. Could you share a favorite Ayurvedic recipe? (could be anything – an Ayurvedic breakfast or tea, a cold remedy, something for indigestion, or detoxing)

My current favourite has to be these easy winter remedy for balancing Vata; You need 1 tbsp Ginger powder and 2 tbsp jaggery, mixed with 1/2 tbsp of Cows ghee. Until well blended and made into pea size balls. Have 2 of these to beat joint pains and bloating in winters.

10. Can you share a brief overview of the doshic or lifestyle or other imbalances that can lead to the following common ailments? What do you see as the path back to balance?

Persistent weight issues- Compromised digestive fire is the main reason for this imbalance, as once this is hampered bringing back alignment requires intervention. It is primarily increase in Kafa dosha coupled with Vata imbalance, so working on cutting down Kafa stimulating triggers and enhancing digestion steadily with the help of herbs, exercise and right wellness techniques is much needed.

Skin aliments like psoriasis and eczema- Primarily due to the wrong food combinations: Virudha Aahar, over a long period of time subconsciously leading to creation of toxins: Ama. The approach is very systematic, finding the root cause and establishing alignment in the body doshas, by detoxification and then rejuvenation. 

11. Please paint the picture of an Ayurvedic journey under your care as a doctor? Please touch on low-touch (remote) and high touch (basti, etc.) modalities? When do you believe a panchakarma becomes necessary? How do you recommend patients make the best of remote sessions and gain the maximum benefit before coming in for in-person treatments.

In my 1-1 Consultation, key goal is to determine body constitution and assess a diet & lifestyle to bring about Holistic Health and Wellbeing. We work towards achieving Health Goals through the Wisdom of Ayurveda, by treating underlying disorders through sustainable lifestyle changes, diet incorporations, and wellbeing interventions. When treating remotely, Panchakarma is not always possible especially while consulting an international patient. While in some conditions I have also upfront told the patient that Panchakarma is mandatory to treatment. So timely support and guidance is the key to ensure that the Ayurvedic treatment is successful and body is prepared for further in person procedures like Panchakarma.

12. How has Ayurveda enhanced your life personally?

Ayurveda happened to me is the reason why I decided to pursue it professionally! I was suffering from excessive heat ailments that it really bought my self esteem down. Teenage they say is the most challenging time of ones life, what kept me going was my inclination towards Dance (Bharat Natyam) and Yoga. I owe my body flexibility to these and my growing interest in Alternate medicine increased when I was in junior college. It was summer time, and my bouts of heat had peaked, it was so bad that I had developed Abscess on my leg and I couldn’t move. The allopathy doctor told me it was due to tight clothes and infection, he gave me strong antibiotics. It helped but reoccured and my mother was convinced she wasn’t going to take me to that doctor again. We took Ayurvedic treatment and it magically healed me internally and externally. Never have I had a reoccurrence. My belief in this science had strengthened and I was convinced to learn more. The next I know, I enrolled myself in Ayurvedic college.

Visit Dr. Nikhita Shere's website to learn more about her practice or contact her. 

*This content is not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease, or affect the structure or function of the body. The information herein does not constitute medical advice. Anyone suffering from a medical condition should consult with a physician. User reviews do not constitute a guarantee that you will achieve the same results -- what works for one may not work for another.
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